Tuesday, May 12, 2020

A 6 inch student globe, American globe and School supply, 1892

     I have a love hate relationship with eBay,  as you will know if your a regular reader.   This is a story about why I love it.  Recently I was able to find a very special globe.  American globe and school supply 6 inch globe, copyright 1892 by Rand McNally.
6 inch student globe, 1892
American globe and school supply, Seneca Falls NY
      So  as I search eBay every day I stumbled across an auction for what appeared to be a pretty rare globe,  I say appear to be because the pictures were a bit dark.   I studied the pictures as best I could, read and then re-read the description.   I was set to take a chance I thought this globe could be something special.   I sent an offer under the “ make an offer “ button and then I waited........ late the same evening I hear back from the seller,   I pepper her with questions that the pictures just didn’t answer, satisfied I made my offer.  She accepted and that was it.  
     The globe was shipped the next day using USPS priority mail,   8 days later it arrives I was nail biting the whole time, as I tracked the globe all over its circutitus route to my door.  Finally it arrived well packaged and undamaged.   I opened the box to discover a very interesting small globe, and I was confronted with something interesting,  an extremely dirty orb.  Now in some ways this is good, if a globe has not been monkeyed around with by others than it is sometimes not difficult to remove a layer of surface grime without harming the underlying surface.  
 Here I have a picture of the globe 1/2 way  through a process I employed to remove the surface dirt and grime.    The results were astounding.   As you can see this globe had 120 plus years of environmental contaminants baked into the surface.   Now I AM NOT a professional, I want to be clear that I rolled the dice with this little cleaning project so I will not be going into the details here because it very easily could have gone the other way.  Suffice it to say I got lucky.   Now with that said the results were great, it took a ho hum globe and brought it back to a really nice condition, a condition I can be happy having in my permanent collection.   
     I want to talk about American globe and school supply a little bit because this is a company that as early as 1885 was making globes in its Seneca Falls NY factory.   This particular globe of mid 1890’s vintage has Rand McNally gores,  earlier AGSS globes,, say pre 1890 are found to have English gores, probably from W&AK Johnson.    If the globe has the characteristic “ race track” analemma its Rand McNally,  if it has a figure 8 analemma it's from Johnson.
Early Johnson orb, for AGSS
It's interesting to note that American Globe and School supply was fairly prolific,  especially in the northeast US.  much of their production
Near identical cartouche
to AGSS, and Johnston orb
is aimed at the student and school market, so it's a wonder many of their globes survive today.   Seneca falls was in the 1880-90 time frame home to another company called " Star Eraser" their claim to fame was a dustless eraser, but they for a few years sold globes that were re brands of American globe and school supply, they seemed to stop before 1890 because they are only found with Johnston gores, here is an example notice the cartouche is very similar to early AGSS cartouche, nearly identical.
   I have written before about Star eraser, really a flash in the pan globe maker,  extremely rare globes.  
     So let's get back to the globe at hand,  for a student globe of the early 1890's it sits in a very nice  state of preservation, the nickel plated base ( a hallmark of AGSS) is slightly pitted, but is better than average.   This globe would have cost about $1.50 in 1892 which was a considerable sum.  Switching from imported gores to domestically sourced gores from the upstart Rand Mcnally was probably a business decision as a way to keep costs low.  This is a great example of how the maker of the gores, maker of the stand and the eventual seller can be 3 different entities in American globe production.
     I want to make special mention about the individual who sold me this globe, she shared a wonderful story of it's provenance starting in Nyack NY and traveling through time until the present day,  those stories are why I love this type of history so much,  thank you.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Schedler 3 inch globe, I love the small ones

     I just can't get enough of small globes.  Certainly it's a space issue, my study is fast filling and I'm starting to get dirty looks from my better half.   Anyhoo today I received in the mail a beautiful Schedler 3 inch globe mounted plainly on an iron stand.    Now looking at this picture you've got see past on he warts,  there's an issue with the axis, it's just not sitting right and the shellac is dark, very dark in fact. But look closer there's a lot of great colors coming through that dirty shellac, and for these 2 reasons I'll be sending this little gem off to Green Dragon Bindery for some TLC.
3 inch paperweight globe

     So lets go over a few details about this globe, it's a 3 inch orb, cast iron base, and stands a total of only 5 inches high.  Under that  dark shellac is a quite detailed map surface.   I'm going to  cross my fingers that conservation goes well,  I have a picture of a completely restored version of this globe t5hat was sold several years back by a European dealer so that the potential is there.

     here you can see just what I hope to find lingering under that darkness, I'll be certain to update  once work is completed.  Now there's no guarantees with any restoration project but I'm going to be an optimist.  I was quite fortunate to have secured a copy of the original Schedler globe manual and catalog to accompany this small globe they make a nice set for sure,  I can't recall ever seeing this globe manual for sale publicly.

    I have been trying to find  nice Schedler globe to add to my collection for a number of years and usually the condition these globes are found in gives me pause.    Schedler globes I am told are notorious for condition issues relating to the orbs.  It seems that they skipped the plaster overlay step in a cost saving move and instead laid paper gores right down to pressed wood, or wood substrates and the acid in the wood led to discoloration of the paper.  We won't know if this globe has suffered that fate until the shellac is off. Either way this little gem will be enjoyed.
UPDATE:  7/20/2020,  the results are in  my little Schedler globe is back from it's visit to the Green Dragon Bindery and I think things have improved greatly.    Below you will see two pictures of the globe in it's fresh state of presentation.  Three things were done to improve this globe.  
1. The axis rod was re-set properly it is no longer protruding it is now flush as intended. 
2.  The old dark shellac was removed and this small globe was re-coated with shellac,  notice that the general appearance is much brighter and clearer, yes there are some dark spots remaining such is life with a Schedler globe, the original manufacturing process is the culprit.
3. A new bushing was fit in the base so that the globe will spin freely and correctly. 

These conservation measures were well worth it for this globe as there just are not that many of these small Schedlers around.   They come up in auctions but are usually flawed to the point where a conservation effort isn't worth it.  This is my first Schedler but certainly I will be on the lookout for more, they produced some of the most ornate bases for globes in the 19th century.   Happy hunting!